469 U.S. 937 (1984)

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U.S. Supreme Court

BORCHARDT v. U.S. , 469 U.S. 937 (1984)

469 U.S. 937

No. 83-1643

Supreme Court of the United States

October 29, 1984

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice BRENNAN, with whom Justice MARSHALL joins, dissenting.

The petitioner Ira Borchardt challenges a judgment of the Fifth Circuit affirming his felony conviction for violations of the currency laws. A federal jury sitting in the Northern District of Texas found that Borchardt smuggled large sums of currency out of the country in furtherance of an illegal scheme to purchase and import marihuana from Mexico. Borchardt contends that,

Page 469 U.S. 937 , 938

because he already had been convicted of conspiracy-to-import charges by a federal jury sitting in the Southern District of Texas, the Northern District prosecution and conviction for the currency offenses violated his right under the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause not to be tried successively for the same criminal acts. The Government responds that (1) there was no double jeopardy violation; and (2) in any event, Borchardt's Sixth Amendment venue rights precluded the joinder of all charges at a single trial.

I believe this case presents an important question whether the second prosecution and conviction impermissibly rest on criminal acts that formed the basis of Borchardt's first conviction. I also believe the case presents an important question whether the Government improperly has exploited Borchardt's venue rights to defeat his right otherwise to be secure from repetitious prosecutions for the same criminal acts. The venue issue, in particular, is a substantial federal question that is likely to recur with frequency. I therefore respectfully dissent from the Court's denial of certiorari.


Borchardt began to conspire with several other individuals in August 1980 to import marihuana from Mexico into the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which is in the Northern District of Texas. Twice that autumn, Borchardt and his co-conspirators surreptitiously flew a total of $126,000 from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Mexico City for the purpose of purchasing marihuana. Borchardt spent much of the next several months in Mexico making preparations to transport the purchases back into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Between December 1980 and February 1981, he arranged for three airplane flights that carried a total of approximately 2,600 pounds of marihuana. The scheme began to unravel when, during the third flight on February 22, 1981, the airplane encountered bad weather, ran out of fuel, and crash-landed outside the town of Raymondville, which is in the Southern District of Texas. Borchardt, who had remained behind in Mexico, returned to this country and was arrested shortly thereafter.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas obtained an indictment in December 1981. Borchardt was charged with importing marihuana into the Southern District on February 22, 1981, and with constructively possessing marihuana on that date with the intent to distribute it. He also was charged with conspiring, "from on or about November 1, 1980, to on or [469 U.S. 937 , 939]

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